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    TIM PEELER: Hamrah Looks For More ACC Excellence


    RALEIGH – In his first two years at NC State, junior wrestler Kody Hamrah put together some impressive winning streaks.

    As a freshman, he won eight consecutive matches, advanced to the title match at the ACC Championships and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.

    As a sophomore, he won another eight in a row, including a three-match sweep at the ACCs to win his first conference championship, despite being banged up for much of the season.

    And now, heading into this week’s ACC Wrestling Championship at Reynolds Coliseum, the junior from

    Middlesex, N.J., is on another roll. He has won 12 of his last 13 bouts in dual-meet competition, with his only setback being a 9-4 decision to seventh-ranked Brandon Becker in the Wolfpack’s win at


    “I just have to keep working hard, because this is when the season really starts,” said Hamrah, who enters the weekend ranked No. 18 nationally in his weight class, with an overall record of 19-6.

    Working hard is what Hamrah does best, said Wolfpack wrestling coach Carter Jordan.

    “He is definitely one of the harder workers on the team and one of the better athletes,”

    Jordan said. “That’s a great combination.

    “He is also really driven to be successful. Sometimes, he can expect too much of himself and he puts an undue amount of pressure on himself because he wants to win so badly. We kind of steer him through that. But it is a good problem to have as a coach.”

    Hamrah came to NC State after finishing second in the New Jersey State Wrestling Championship in the 152-pound weight class for



    High School. He won 37 consecutive matches before the state final. He also finished fifth in the National High School Championships to earn All-America honors.

    “I would say I am a brawler,” Hamrah said. “I wouldn’t say I have the best technique in the world or that I am a slick wrestler. I really just go out there and wrestle as tough as I can for seven minutes. Hopefully, it pays off.”

    More importantly for

    Jordan, however, was that Hamrah was a well-trained, fundamentally sound athlete, the son of a high school football coach who knows how to take direction.

    “I knew he would be tough, physically and mentally, because his dad is a coach,”

    Jordan said. “And he has a lot of talent. I believe the sky is the limit for him. He has gotten better every year.”

    He’s been particularly good against ACC competition: he’s never lost a regular-season match against a conference opponent and is 21-1 in his career, with his only set-back being in the ACC championship bout his freshman year.

    “I think I have been wrestling pretty well this semester,” said Hamrah, who suffered five of his losses this season before New Year’s Day. “I am pleased with it. I really wanted to improve on last year [when Hamrah qualified for the NCAA Tournament and was eliminated in the second round]. I want to have the opportunity to be an All-America.

    “But first things first: I have to win the ACC Championship again.”

    Hamrah has improved his abilities against similarly talented wrestlers. Last year, he didn’t win a single match against a ranked opponent. This year, he is 2-4 against ranked foes, with both victories coming at the Southern Scuffle in

    Greensboro, where Hamrah finished fifth.

    “Probably the biggest thing this year is having confidence that I can compete with some of the best wrestlers in the country,” Hamrah said. “Having those wins against some ranked guys and having that experience lets you know where you stand. That’s the big thing with this year.”

    You may contact Tim Peeler at



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